DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson has been getting flack over a community mailbox ever since he set it up in the parking lot of a Winn-Dixie.
Johnson said he installed the box as a new way to get community feedback. And he got plenty of feedback, including how much some citizens hate the box. Johnson paid for the box himself and placed it on private property, both of which are sticking points for some residents of the city.
Norman Erickson filed a lawsuit against the city claiming Johnson was using the box to circumvent public-record laws.
Johnson, on the other hand, said he has shared anything put into the box.
“In an effort to try to ensure that the community knows I’m open, I did make (feedback) a public record and available for viewing,” he said.
Many residents don’t have a problem with the “Mayor’s Mailbox.”
“I just think it opens up other avenues for people to be able to put their word in,” said resident Jesse Lawrence. “I don’t see a big issue with it.”
Still, there are those like Erickson who are suspicious of what feedback is, and isn’t, being shared from the mailbox.
The controversy is frustrating to Johnson, who said he was only trying to do something new to engage the public.
“If you want to ask why government officials don’t do anything creative, this is a perfect example,” he said. “Look how much trouble it is over something as simple as a box.”